The accusations against Assange were previously dropped by one Swedish prosecutor before being picked up by another. When the accusations were read in a British court Tuesday, the judge said the case is "about serious sexual offenses on three separate occasions, involving two separate victims...extremely serious allegations."
Assange has denied the sex crimes charges and after his arrest, Stephens told ABC News Assange is ready "to vindicate himself and clear his good name."
Assange's detention appears to have sparked a cyber skirmish as his supporters targeted government and private websites that have taken action against Wikileaks, before some the supporters' own pages were taken down in return.
After a loosely affiliated group of computer users known as Anonymous declared Operation: Payback against several major websites like Paypal, Mastercard.com and Visa.com -- all companies who refused to process payments for Wikileaks -- and the Swedish government website, some of those sites went down for hours Wednesday. Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin told ABC News she was among the victims of the attacks late Wednesday after she spoke out on Facebook against Assange.
"No wonder others are keeping silent about Assange's antics," Palin said in an e-mail to ABC News. "This is what happens when you exercise the First Amendment and speak against his sick, un-American espionage efforts."
For hours Mastercard.com was not operational once again, although service appears to have been restored.
"This is a way kind of to strike back and to say 'Hey, you can't push us around,'" Wired Magazine's Noah Schactman told "Good Morning America." "These retaliatory attacks really show that in today's, you know, super-networked world, that a very few number of people can have an outsize effect."
But then the so-called "hackivists" took their own cyber shots as several websites they were apparently using to organize the attacks, including Facebook and Twitter, were also taken down. The FBI is investigating the so-called Operation: Payback attacks, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a press conference today.
A cached page for Anonops.net, a page that is currently down but had shown Anonymous' alleged plans, quotes the co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which describes itself as the "first line of defense" against attacks on online freedom.
"The first serious infowar is now engaged. The field of battle is WikiLeaks. You are the troops," EFF co-founder John Perry Barlow said in a tweet last week.
Wikileaks spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson told ABC News in an exclusive interview the refusal of service by Mastercard, Visa and Paypal amounted to an "outrageous" attack on freedom of speech.
"We are seeing growing support for us, especially in the last few days when we've had these outrageous attacks on us by companies that are bowing to political pressure from political forces in the United States," Hrafnsson said Wednesday. "We are getting seriously close to censorship in the United States and that must surely go against the fundamental values that the country is based upon."
One of the most recent cables leaked to anger U.S. authorities includes a list of installations vital to America's national security and interests.